About Us and Our History
Sole Central is a small local retailer in the heart of downtown Fall River, Massachusetts. We opened our store in May of 2012, with the basic mission to provide quality footwear at competitive pricing and to bring back the tentative, helpful customer service that lacks so much in most shoe stores today. We specifically targeted to the 28 & older crowd. I wanted to also provide, a good number of products & services to our significantly growing population of older folks. There is nothing worse than knowing our older population struggle so much to be able to get somewhere to buy a pair of good shoes and then to again see them struggle to get help actually buying the pair of shoes. Many retailers today just simply lack the help or empathy to provide anything close to providing tentative, patient customer service. Let alone for a significantly, older group of individuals in our population. Close to 75% of our "Older Generation" in Fall River, live in the downtown area and in walking distance to Sole Central. I always wondered why almost all of our small businesses in the downtown area of Fall River, catered to the under 40 yr old population. It just doesn't make sense, right? What does make sense you ask? Knowing why so many of them are no longer in business. Now that makes sense! Sad Really. Anyway, with some adjustments, tweaks and re-dos we were able to accomplish that mission and continue to do so today.
We are currently in the process of moving our shop to a beautiful, historically rich, connected space, in the "Bennett Building" at 46 North Main Street, that's just 2 blocks away from where we were previously...and I say historically rich in the sense that Fall River was once the largest manufacturing city in the world! In the 19th Century, Fall River's Industrial development & prosperity surpassed all others. The early establishments of its textile industry grew in its developments beginning with the Revolutionary War Veteran Col. Joseph Durfee in 1793. He built "Globe Manufacturing" (a spinning mill). This marked the beginning of the city's rise in the textile business and the city was soon able to provide advantage in making the fuel (coal at the time) to bring large steam ships into our harbor, while also providing large exports from our cotton mills to be used for making the largest percentage of the worlds textile fabrics. In 1868 we became the American leader in textile production, with over 500,000 spindles in operations. By 1872 that number had doubled to over 1,000,000 spindles in production. On top of all of that, the City of Fall River was built on Granite Stone so we also became famous for providing our rich stone to not only build our own buildings but to be able to provide materials to build buildings all over the world. Fall River's prosperity didn't end there either. We were home to the famous Woolworth Retailer Company, the largest cloth printer in the world which employed at one time over 6,000 jobs during World War I. Unfortunately, having all your eggs in one basket, never seems to work out in the end and after the war ended the economy quickly slowed and in 1923 the devastation began its rathe of mill closures and a recession that this city, along with many others, never fully recovered from.
But Fall Riverites are a determined people and our city is a beautifully situated piece of land at the head of the deep Mount Hope Bay. Our large waterfront (in walking distance from Sole Central) is continually being developed and along with small local retailers, small manufacturing companies and Indian casino builders we will again soon be the prosperous city we once were. We are currently the largest collector of Battleships Ships in the world. So were on our way back!
That's why providing locally manufactured and organic product will be another staple of SoleCentral...to be able to provide to our community online and in store. Honestly, I just can't wait to be able to do that and when we open our shop back up at the end of March of 2017 it's going to be the greatest year yet!
We hope you enjoy what we have to offer! Happy Shopping!
Michelle Costa, Owner/Operator